Aaron Taylor-Johnson Talks ‘Godzilla’ Special Effects and His Character in the Film

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kick ass1 Aaron Taylor Johnson Talks Godzilla Special Effects and His Character in the Film

Writer-director Roland Emmerich (White House Down) decided to put his own spin on the Godzilla franchise back in 1998. The result: a destruction-happy Hollywood blockbuster that stars Matthew Broderick as Dr. Niko Tatopoulos, who bears more than a slight resemblance to the glasses-wearing nerdy protagonists found in other Emmerich films (James Spader in Stargate, Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day).

Needless to say, we expect that filmmaker Gareth Edwards – who directed the indie sci-fi drama Monsters – will take a different approach to the Japanese giant monster/metaphor than Emmerich did, on the upcoming Godzilla reboot. The film’s human lead, Aaron Taylor-Johson (Kick-Ass), teased as much during a recent interview, where he spoke about the small number of special effects shots and his character in the movie.

Johnson knows what it feels like to work outside the studio system on a film (Kick-Ass, for example, was financed by director Matthew Vaughn), but he told Total Film - via Digital Spy - that production on Godzilla features so few people that “it feels more like an independent movie than anything I’ve ever worked on.” He then added:

“I’ve hardly done any green screen stuff for it, he’s (Edwards) really clever at doing the special effects. We’ll shoot everything raw on location, on the streets, and he’s going to put it all around us.”

Early details about the sequel to Gareth Edwards Monsters Aaron Taylor Johnson Talks Godzilla Special Effects and His Character in the Film

Scoot McNairy in a scene from ‘Monsters’

Edwards began his professional filmmaking career in the visual effects field (on TV projects like Seven Wonders of the Industrial World and Dive to Bermuda Triangle), which served him well on his directorial debut with Monsters. That movie primarily takes place in an alternate version of Mexico, which has become a warzone thanks to the arrival of giant extraterrestrial creatures. Armed with just a $500K budget – while serving as the writer, director, cinematographer and visual effects supervisor – Edwards managed to craft a visually-poetic and insightful human story.

The final result on Monsters led to Edwards being hired to reboot Godzilla, and his take on the lightning-breathing creature (as Johnson’s comments indicate) looks to keep its distance from the gleeful destruction and camp from Emmerich’s vision. By comparison, Edwards is more interested in the Mother Nature revenge aspect of the story – the emphasis in the original 1954 Godzilla movie – and that sentiment has been echoed by co-screenwriter Frank Darabont.

Of course, since there’s a giant beast on the run, that means the U.S. military will play an important role in the proceedings. Johnson is reported to be playing a Navy lieutenant in the Godzilla reboot, and had this to say on the subject:

“There’s an etiquette for guys in the military, so there was training for that, how to hold guns and how to run and to talk to other officers. I love all that.”

godzilla aaron taylor johnson Aaron Taylor Johnson Talks Godzilla Special Effects and His Character in the Film

Battle Los Angeles also blended naturalism and extraordinary circumstances (similar to what Johnson has said about Godzilla), in order to tell a story about the military’s fight against alien invaders. However, there are a few reasons to believe that the Godzilla reboot will prove more successful in that endeavor. To be precise, the allegory in Godzilla is shaping up stronger than Battle LA; not to mention, the premise is being realized by a very-talented pack of actors, writers and Edwards as director.

The cast for the Godzilla reboot includes Elizabeth Olsen (Oldboy), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Juliette Binoche (Cosmopolis), Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), David Strathairn (Lincoln) and Ken Watanabe (Silence). That is to say, Johnson will have plenty of help, in reacting to a non-existent CGI Godzilla in a way that feels believable and convincing (assuming you are willing to wrap your head around the idea that Godzilla could exist in the first place).


Godzilla will be featured at Legendary’s 2013 Comic-Con panel, well-ahead of the film’s theatrical release on May 16th, 2014.

Meanwhile, you can see Johnson on the big screen in Kick-Ass 2 on August 16th, 2013.

Source: Total Film [via Digital Spy]

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
TAGS: Godzilla
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  1. Hopefully we can finally see a teaser perhaps or at least what Godzilla will actually look like. Were are the toy line leaks already? Lol

    • I agree, as much as I want to get on board it all hings on the design of the BIG G.

      Not ofay with the whole rights issue and stuff, what has Toho actually given up, is it just the name (which is why the ’98 film has a gecko in it) or is it the whole thing, design as well.

      Be nice to have a proper Godzilla using modern techniques. Get Andy Sirkis king of mo-cap trashing a Weta Worshop model city in his trademarked white mo-cap gimp suit and give us a real BIG G.

      • You mean iguana

        • that too…. lol

    • @Bellcure

      I assume we’ll get some footage at Comic con. I’m pretty sure they had last year also, but I’m guessing that this year, there will be an official teaser or something released to the general public soon after. At least I hope so!

  2. And also Edwards is a talented director where the director of “Battle: Los Angeles” is nothing but a hack.

    • Hey! That’s the man who also directed the cinematic masterpiece Wrath of the Titans, as well as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, which will undoubtedly be up there with The Godfather and Citizen Kane.

  3. I keep forgetting that the script for Godzilla is written by Frank Darabont who not only wrote and directed The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist he’s also the reason we get to see The Walking Dead. Also, if you really want to geek out look up his script for A Nightmare On Elm Street 3.

    • Also, Darabont’s early script draft for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is an interesting read.

      • I didn’t know that he wrote a draft for that…
        Thanks Sandy, I’ll have to look it up.

  4. I went to an Oriental restaurant the other day, and found the meat was so tough, I declared, “Aaiieee, Godzilla!”
    I don’t discriminate, though. I went to an American steak house that wa rather snooty a week ago, and whipped out the old comment, when they asked if I had reservations, of “Yes I do, but I’ll take a chance and eat here anyways!”. Later, after discovering their specialty was small portions, the waiter asked me how I found my steak, and I replied, “Why, I peeked under the baked potato, and there it was!”

    • bet they charged you $25 for the privalge……

  5. The Godzilla from 200 or 2001 with Matthew Broderick was pretty awesome looking for its time! Hopefully they go big like Pacific Rim!

  6. So. Godzilla “breathes lightning,” does he? Wow. Learned something new again from the site. Thanks ScreenRant! The next thing I’ll learn is that he’s the Lindsey Lohan’s secret love child. I assume then, that when he breathes, we’ll be treated to the inevitable “thunder” sound? Just sayin’.

    This is why I come back to this site over and over, just to learn more and more about my favorite monsters and characters. That, and to learn which car to rent or buy, or which credit card to use.

  7. …well – as long as they don’t make him into another stupid looking lizard or actually kill him off like last the last reboot.

    • I loved how Godzilla looked in the 98 movie.

  8. I’m pretty pumped for this movie. Great cast, and it seems like Edwards is a great director who knows what he’s doing. And Frank Darabont doesn’t hurt.

    Also, I haven’t seen Monsters, but I’m thinking of checking it out. Do y’all recommend it?

  9. Are you taking notes Disney???? This is FAR Better than the Green Screen CGI and I really hope they’re using animatronics just like in Jurassic Park too.